Van thefts up 45 percent to record high

Van thefts increase in the UK

The number of vans stolen in the UK has increased by 45 percent over the last four years, according to new figures.

Police have recorded 32,056 incidents of van theft since 2015 – with 9,371 vans reported stolen in the last year alone. 

Of these, 4,777 vans were reported stolen to the Metropolitan Police – a 15 percent year-on-year increase. Meanwhile, in Leicestershire, van theft is up 843 percent to 377.

A Freedom of Information Request (FOI) found that van theft is up in most of the police forces included in the study, although the figure is down 73 percent in the West Midlands.

The study was conducted by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. It’s advising van owners and fleet managers to ensure their vehicles are fitted with the latest anti-theft devices and to remove tools overnight.

Over the weekend, thousands of pounds worth of tools were stolen from vans in the West Midlands. Julie Meer, Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) on the Tyburn Neighbourhood Team said: “”Can we please remind residents to be vigilant at this time and not to leave items of value including tools inside their vans and please use vehicle alarms where available.”

How to protect your van from theft

Volkswagen has the following advice for van drivers:

  • Park in well-lit areas or car parks with CCTV. Alternatively, position your van so that the doors are blocked by another vehicle
  • Window guards or full internal bulkheads can prevent thieves from seeing inside
  • Adding security film to the side glass and back window can stop thieves from breaking in
  • Fitting additional locks is a good idea
  • Invest in lockable internal racking or secure storage boxes
  • Fitting a tracking device can assist the police in the hunt for a stolen van

Volkswagen police van

David Hanna, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles head of service and parts operations, said: “Our most recent findings are concerning as it reveals that the problem of van theft is getting worse rather than better – and it’s a problem right across the country.

“Vans are the lifeblood of so many businesses up and down the country and it’s not only the emotional stress of replacing the vehicle but also the days and weeks of letting customers down and the cost of replacing tools, often worth thousands of pounds, before you can get back to ‘business as usual’.’

Number of van thefts

The FOI request was sent to 47 police forces across the UK. A total of 42 responded – here are the top 10.

Police force Stolen vans (2017/18) Stolen vans (2018/19) Year-on-year increase
Metropolitan Police 4,137 4.777 15 percent
West Yorkshire 557 931 67 percent
West Midlands 1,505 409 -73 percent
Essex 228 387 70 percent
Leicestershire 40 377 843 percent
Hertfordshire 206 253 23 percent
Derbyshire n/a 229
Surrey 210 208 -1 percent
Avon and Somerset 166 193 16 percent
Sussex n/a 181